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FALL OF THE IDOLS (Fin) "Womb Of Earth" CD'06. 8 tracks, 65 min. I Hate.
Fall Of the Idols is an active band since 2000 that released 3 demos before this first full-length. They're in the footstep of Count Raven, which means very slow tempo Doom Metal with a large emotional side in their compositions. The tunes are extremely heavy in the doomy way, sounding like a funeral march, brining a totally depressed feeling in the room. Actually I found F.O.T.I rather impressing in creating such moody atmosphere, without using any mid tempo parts as Candlemass does. There's an obscure touch in each song, a deathly musical feeling. I'd also point the lyrics which are extremely well written and convincing. I've never listened to this band before but it's a great discover.

 

FALL OF THE IDOLS (Fin) "The Séance" CD'08. 7 tracks, 58 min. I Hate.
Most of time, the second album is the rise or fall album for many combos, as either it'll assert their ability in the musical field either it'll show a poor combo. Thence, "The Séance", the second album of Fall Of The Idols, is extremely important. After a first listening the judgment says : "brilliant". Actually, Fall Of The Idols has released a great Doom Metal album, respecting the standard of the style but bringing a funeral touch, a Finish obscure way of displaying their Doom view. The help of three guitar players and a bass player obviously brings more heaviness than any other combo as these three guitarists play fucking thigh. A tune such as "At The Birth Of The Human Shadow" will bring you back images of Doom pioneers, which a "modern" approach. What I really like in their release is that they sound fucking "old school" with being outdated. The guitar sound is powerful but also vintage. An excellent release !!!
FARSCAPE (Bra) "Killers On The Loose" CD'07. 8 tracks, 36 min. Unsilent.
I feel like the 80's Brazilian Thrash Metal is still alive or at least some new combos are keeping the black flame alive. One of them is Farscape who yet recorded one full length and several demo tapes. The 8 tracks from this new album are a revival Thrash Metal with strong root influences. Indeed some songs are a kind of mix between Punk Metal, old Iron Maiden interlude and typical staccato Thrash riffs. The best example of this definition would be "Thrash Until You Drop" tune that starts like a punk song, uses the Maiden like interlude than ends in a furious Thrashing madness. The vocals are also midway between Heavy and Thrash, but still "singing". Actually this band reminds me a lot the early steps of Kreator through song like "Captors Of Hate" for instant. The production is tight and powerful while the instruments have the old school way of sounding. This band hails early combos such as Sarcofago, Mutilation and co ! Note the album ends with "Thermonuclear Devastation" from Onslaught ! Long live to Thrash Metal !
FINIS GLORIA DEI (Fra) "Goat : Father Of The New Flesh" CD'07. 11 tracks, 40 min. Aura Mystique.
This combo gathers members from Funeral/Seigneur Voland/Blessed In Sin. After the introduction, FGD delivers their mid tempos dark Black Metal with a low guttering vocal. The immediate links coming in mind are influences from Rotting Christ "Satanas Tedeum" melted with Zephyrious song like structures. Excepted for the low vocal parts Finis Gloria Dei terribly sounds like the 90's early Greek combos, with here and there early Beherit ideas, in the faster parts. The mood of this album is pretty dark and sometime even reminds me of Blessed in Sin. According to me this result is rather ok, excepted that the guitar lines are much too basic and even predicable. Nevertheless the work of the lyrics is interesting and stands against standard texts.
FLAGELLUM DEI (Por) "Under The Might" CD'08. 7 tracks, 38 min. Bloody.
Standard and pioneer combos from dawn of Scandinavian B.M will always be very influencing all along the Black Metal history. Darkthrone and Mayhem established the key stones of B.M song structures through their early releases, and 20 years later the young fans are still using the classic way of playing. Thus said, Flagellum Dei is strongly rooted into Darkthrone and early Dark Funeral ideas, copying the best riffs through long and mesmerizing tunes. Unfortunately the Portuguese band doesn't come with such a personal touch to give something unique or a least something that could be labeled as "Flagellum Dei" 's trademark. Of course the 7 tracks convey darkness and misery but everything has been be heard some many times with much better riffs that this attempt seems bare. Do we really need to listen to the 10000 Darkthrone's copy even if the musicians are good ? Finally the guitar gain is so fucking unappealing and conventional….
FLESH (Swe) "Dodsangest" CD'06. 9 tracks, 34 min. Iron Fist.
This is a project from Peter from Deceiver, and ex Maze of Torment. Sometimes, the review job is a bit an hard task especially when you can't make your mind if you really like the release or not. So, in one hand Flesh has an awesome old school Swedish D.M sound and production, I love so much the guitar gain, the macabre vocals are of quality, thanks to Tommy Tägtgren production. There's such an early Entombed's feeling in this record, it's unbelievable (i.e. : "Hell's Damnation"). The song structures are really ok, without being that much thrilling. Actually I feel like Flesh is a kind of D.M combo that can't find some crushing songs you'll die for. There's nothing that much bad in this release but when listening to songs such as "Endless Suffering", "Taster For Blood" I'm waiting for something that will never happen. On the other hand tunes such as "Rotten" or "Six Evil Eyes" have a great bunch of darkness atmosphere and banging parts ! That's really the typical "so-so" release, but check it anyway.

FLESH (Swe) "Temple Of Whores" CD'06. 9 tracks, 40 min. Iron Fist.
As you can read above, my view on the debut album was rather mixed and blur as I couldn't be totally happy with the material. I've to admit that "Temple Of Whores" is much better and more established than the previous release. First of all the production kicks ass as Peter went to Abyss Studio and got a crushing sound and razor sharp guitar gain. Then the structures of the songs are more appealing : there tighter than ever, delivering a lugubrious and uncomfortable old school Death Metal. Indeed, both songs and vocals became more macabre, mixing the most extreme side of Thrash Metal from the 80's with the early 90's D.M touch. Flesh didn't forget this kind of twisted melodies you can find in "Baptized On The Demon's Throne". That's really a great D.M release for old school maniac !
FORCES OF DARKNESS (Chile) "Live MMIV" CD'06. 7 tracks, 31 min. Proselytism
Here's a live from Santiago 2004 gathering 6 tracks of chaotic Black/Thrash Metal. Actually it's rather weird this band recorded a live album as they only have 2 demos in their catalogue. Thence, the 6 tracks delivered here are a kind of Blackened Thrash Metal, with rough structures, early death growling à la Merciless melted with early Tom Aria high pitched screams. Some of the tracks seems rather wild and well established while here and there the band seems clumsy, lacking of precision in their set. What is strange is this band is they melted some Heavy Metal solis with row D.M ideas sometimes taken from the most brutal bands such as Sarcofago (i.e. : "Christian Persecution"). FOD needs a proper studio to record their materials.

FÖRGJORD (Fin) "Henkeen Ja Vereen" CD'06. 14 tracks, 66 min. Hammer Of Hate.
Förgjord is into old school and underground Black Metal music it was played in the early 90's by some of the most underground bands back in time. So, these Finnish demons deliver 14 tracks of unpolished and under produced B.M through rather conventional song structures. I'd point out the shrieking and over gained vocals that could remind a bit of Clandestine Blaze or some Polish combos from the 90's. They melt both dark melodic riffs with ultra speed B.M ones. This band will probably be eclipsed by Archgoat new album that is on the same label, but excepted that the CD is way tooooooo long (66 min of that kind of B.M turns to be boring at the end), this band is a worth discovering.

 

FOR RUIN (Ire) "December" CD'07. 10 tracks, 43 min. Sentinel.
"December" is my first experience with For Ruin, an Irish combo that is in the scene since 2004, the date of their first demo. After few listening to this CD the result of this 43 min is : if you like melodic Death/Black Metal but you want to avoid trendy and crappy bands of this genre For Ruin is for you ! The album is blended on melodies and emotional riffs through mid paced structures that bring you in the lands of nearly ethereal Metal. Long melodic parts such as in "Toward The End" really give noble letters to melodic Black/Death Metal. Actually the tag "Black-Metal" is used here much more to describe this low shrieking vocals than for an extreme and satanic ideology. Even though the band has a personal approach, combos such as new Sentenced, Amorphis, and Katatonia might have been influences for this Irish dudes. To end this review, I'll point the great work on guitars done here !
FORSAKEN (Malta) "After The Fall". CD'09. 9 tracks, 57 min. I Hate.
For thoese you follow Franang zine since years, they know how respected Forsaken is to me ! Furthermore, if you keep an eye on the feed back the band received since their first 7EP, not only from me, you will see that the challenge is completed and the discography is close to perfection. How many combos can be proud of such an excellent back catalogue ? The very great news is that they're part of the excellent Swedish label I Hate Records. Thence, "After The Fall" was very awaited from Franang zine side, I was wondering what could Forsaken record after their amazing "Dominaeon" ? Yet the opeing track, "Aidenn Falls", is a success. The heavy and pondering Doom Metal delivered by the Maltese combo is so powerful and well…simply HEAVY !!! The band is master in their art of writing and playing pure old school Doom Metal songs, they have the class of Candlemass, the heaviness of Saint Vitus and the talent of Black Sabbath. Forsaken are brillant through tunes such as "Sins Of the Tempter", "Armida's Kiss" and "Metatron And The Mibor Mythos", pretty sinister and melancholic through "The Lord Sayeth" and "Vanguard Of The Void" (that sounds very Black Sabbathish !!!). I found a new dimension in Forsaken, a rather theatrical and tragic one in a tune like "The Sage". This is definitely the ultimate Doom album. Support, support or fuck off !!!! Note the superbe cover.

FORTERESSE (Quebec) "Métal Noir Québécois". CD'06. 6 tracks, 50 min. Sepulchral.
Strangely enough the CD starts with a kind of traditional Austrian folk music, then all of a sudden displays a veil of darkness and desolation. The title of this release means "Quebecan Black Metal" and so far these three words perfectly sum up the music of this CD. The 6 tunes are of pure Scandinavian B.M vein, using the long and repetitive song rhythmic while the vocals have a minimalist role in the atmosphere, delivering slow and skinned lyrics. The topic of this album is established on the French pride Quebecian people feel and celebration of royal past era (i.e. "Le Flamme Et Le Lys)". The result is pretty convincing and powerful.

 

FORTID (Ice) "Völuspa Part II". CD'07. 7 tracks, 42 min. No Colours
Some of you might remember this Icelandic band recorded the first part of their art in 2003 which was reviewed on Franang zine paper edition. Then now we've the second part 4 years after and the improvements are also part of this chapter ! First of all the production is tighter and much more powerful which helps a lot the band in its musical style. Fortis is still playing Pagan Metal paying tribute to the ancient Viking gods and religion. Through title such as "Naströnd", "Baldur's Murder" Fortid revisited the poetic Edda from Snorri Sturluson. The 7 new tracks are of great and quality Viking Metal, and according to me that'd have been the way Enlsaved would have evolved if they hadn't gone into progressive and weird lands. Indeed, the tunes are extremely well written, while the clear vocals really give na old Scandinavian touch. The fact is also that Icelandic language is the oldest one in Europe and even though the singer uses English words he's a special way of delivering them. Fans of Falkenbach, Enslaved and early Helheim get this epic piece of Metal.


FUCK OFF (Spa) "Hell On Earth" CD'07. 14 tracks, 61 min. Dark Rails.
"Hell On Earth" was previously released in 1990 but it seems that the album is now completely forgotten and that's the reason why Dark Rails re-printed it. The new CD contains a 20 pages booklet with plenty of old pictures and 4 bonus tracks. The first survey to this CD gives us a very quality material : there's a great work on the design of the booklet. But how do Fuck Off sound ? This Spanish band was heavily influenced by early Slayer in the writing process of their tunes and in the aggressiveness of the drumming. The guitar sound and the vocals are very close to Onslaught "Power From Hell". Indeed, the guitar gain is fucking heavy and the way of singing is pretty unique, it's a kind of mix between Thrash and Canadian Speed Metal. Songs like "Midnight Confession", the galloping "Hell On Earth" or the fast "Inquisicion" are highlights of this album. The 4 last tunes come from the '92 demo and are sang in Spanish, obviously the production isn't as professional as in "Hell On Earth" but they're cool. This is a mandatory album for all Thrash Metal fans !
FURIA (Pol) "Pton" MCD'09. 3 tracks, 16 min. Pagan.
First of all, don't confuse this BM combo with the shitty French one !! Here we're dealing with dark and grim Black Metal. But Furia can not only play pure Black Metal, they've blent a great bunch of melodies through original guitar gain and great breaks. The 3 tracks will immediately remind you of the early days of Arcturus, Tulus melted with Windir. You know those bands that were considered as BM but not in the grim and harsh way, they'd a more sophisticated and "modern" approach. Here's the same with this MCD, the second track nicely titled "Ohydny Jestem" is simply fabulous. Here and there the band reminds me of early Taake through the vocals. Thus said, Furia is a very nice dsicoring for any B.M fans !
GALAR (Nor) “Skogskvad” CD’08. 8 tracks, 36 min. Heavy Horses.
This is probably the biggest surprise from Norway when it comes to extreme Metal. While this land was famous for Epic/ Viking combos in the early 90’s the scene completely wimped out and sucks big balls now. But Galar has given a real come back to this scene. Taking influences from the pioneers such as Enslaved, Helheim and Windir, the 8 tracks from “Skogskvad” are a kind of melting pot of the best from all the mentioned combos. You’ve the pretty fast riffing such as in the middle of “Hugin Og Mugin” that is heavily influenced by Enlsaved’s “Eld”, vocals are in the straight Helheim’s vein melted with Windir’s ones. The compositions are really well done, mixing a melodic side with epic riffs such as in “Kronet Til Konge” (not a Dodheimsgard’s cover !!!). While Windir wasn’t really my cup of tea because of the “too much” side, Galar hasn’t emphasizes too much the epic side to keep something purely Metal. The best tune is probably the last one, “Jotnerald”. Get this album if you like Viking Metal.

GASZIMMER (Ita) "Dominazione Di Elernila" CD'06. 9 tracks, 41 min. Algizart.
Welcome in the land of ridiculous NS BM !!!! The CD starts was an hazing drum solo done by a drum machine !! Unbelievable ! Then Gaszimmer shows how clumsy they are, they wrote such barren tunes with ugly guitar gain and tasteless vocals. We've reached the pathos side of NSBM here and the CD advises about "Supreme Nihilist Art" !! Ahahahah.

 

GEIST (Ger) "Rainmal" CD'06, 6 trakcs, 37 min. Cold Dimension.
I've never heard this release but I've to admit I'm rather impressed by the quality of their Black Metal that sounds like early Norwegian materials. Actually I feel like listening to early stuffs from Dimmu Borgir, which means they melt raw Black Metal with rather tamed and melodious parts to emphasises the melodious side. Even though they could be compared with the Norwegian band, they come with fresh ideas in the interpretation of their own songs, through rather mid tempo drumming, and nearly "ethereal" Black Metal atmosphere here and there. Actually the band is good in creating a feeling of pure Nordic Black Metal with a certain grandeur and magnificence you could find in early Norwegian bands. This is really a great piece of Black Metal.
GELIDA OBSCURITAS (Rus) "Heart Of Chaos" CD'06, 10 tracks, 48 min. Gravestench.
I received this promo CD without any inlay card, info sheet or further information that is a real pain in ass to seek on internet to know what is the band on a CD. Anyway, I discovered they come from Russia and deliver strict B.M. Thence, Gelida Obscuritas is a band from Moscow which performs a kind of early Norwegian like B.M very influenced by bands such as Tsjuder. "Heart Of Chaos" uses all the key elements from the "true" B.M scene, performing their art with growling and sick vocals, melodious yet melodic riffs without forgetting a rather unholy way of delivering the compositions. Obviously you won't find any slow tempo hymn, or synth or female vocals. They simply stick to the B.M rules, and the final result is rather convincing as they can wrote some moody tunes. The CD ends with a cover of Tsjuder "Kill From Satan" and a Mayhem cover "Freezing Moon"
GESTAPO 666 (Fra) "Nostalgiah" CD'07. 8 tracks, 33 min. Black Seed.
Wow, what's a fucking stupid name !!! Congratulation guys, you found a clever band name !! I'm not crying about NS stuffs, but where the connection between a German militari group, the number 666 and Metal music ??? Well, none the less the band name completely sucks but this release is nothing less than crappy Black Metal. The guys behind this joke are Noctus from Drakkar, ex Satanic Warmaster. Honestly this is a lame attempt at playing raw Black Metal. The vocals are ugly and without any talent, the guitar riffs sound like teenager discovering his instruments while the drumming is so fucking basic. Don't waste you money here.
GIGANTOUR (V/A) "Tour 2005". DCD. 19 tracks, 93 min. SPV.
That DCD is samples from a huge USA tour all around the States bringing Dream Theatre, Anthrax, Life Of Agony, Dry Kill Logic, Bobaflex, Megadeth, Fear Factory, Nevermore and Symphonix X on the road. There're 2 tracks from each combos and the opening tunes from Dream Theatre yet announced a quality live recording. I won't review every songs one by one as it'd be much to boring. I really enjoyed Anthrax live tunes (I'm The Law" and "The Day He Died" which remind me my 14 years). I found Life Of Agony, Dry Kill Logic and Bobaflex completely uninteresting, a kind of post modern hard core stuffs. The 2nd CD starts with 3 tracks from Megadeth ("She Wolf", "A Tout Le Monde" and Kick The Chair"), and obviously Megadeth is something to experience live even though Mustain is a really dick head now. The 2 next tracks are from Fear Factory, a band I never enjoyed and will never like. Nevermore is the following band with "Born" and "Enemy Of Reality". Finally Symphony X ends the DCD with "Inferno" and "Of sins And Shadows". So, as you can see this Gigantour is rather varied when it comes to Metal range but the sound kicks ass all along.

GOATHOLOCAUST (Bel) "Satan Jedend" 11 tracks, 35 min. Infernus.
The rather unappealing and childish cover from Chris Moyen doesn’t help the need to discover this Belgium band. Anyway, Goatholocaust proclaims playing old "Black Death raw kult" metal. Well, actually this motto doesn’t really fit to their music, as they play in the brutal way for sure, but not really sounding Black/Death Metal à la Beherit or Von. I'd would rather say they are in the conventional B.M style, with some strange tempo variations and song structures and progressive parts. The vocals alternate between sorcerer like screams and more D.M grunts. Strangely there's no really memorable riffs or songs in their release. It's not bad at all, but it's not the kind of release you'll not listen to on and on. The production is really good, but tunes lack of catchy riffs.

GORGONS EYES (Usa) "Inglorious Birth" CD'07. 11 tracks, 56 min. Pure Steel.
Despite a pretty unappealing cover, this band unveils great moment of pure Heavy Metal. This combo seems to be heavily influenced by two main bands that are Manowar and Virgin Steele. The Manowar influences are especially listenable in the pretty long and dynamic interludes when bass guitar and drum are playing fast and loud ! The Virgin Steele is more present in tighter riffs and more melodic riffs. But what is really interesting is to get these two different bands melted in a single one. For instance the tune "Spirit Of Steel" perfectly alternates ideas from both combos. Excepted from this, I need to mention that the band also comes with personal ideas and some of them are fucking efficient. Here and there Gorgon's Eyes plays with the Epic side of this style which also gives them a very 80's touch, a bit like Omen. The vocalist is an highlight of this band as he's also trying to be a copy cat of Eric Adam (i.e. "Summon The Dead"). Honestly speaking this release is a great piece of Heavy Metal from the 80's but with a modern production !


GOSPEL OF THE HORNS (Austr.) "Realm Of The Damned" CD'07. 10 tracks, 38 min. Invictus/Hells Headbangers.
Fuck I can't believe that the previous release is back from 2002 ! It was (and still is) such a fucking masterpiece that "A Call.." is still turning on my turn table every week. How can GOTH returns with a new album without wiping off and disappointing die hard fans ? Well, once you've listening to the first introduction track of "Realm.." is fucking obvious this album will once more kick several assed. The Aussy Metalheads are still playing this infamous Thrash/Death Metal from land of kangaroos. The basic theme of the band and arrangements haven't changed a lot, and that's why is excellent here. Some bands need to evolve other not. Gospel Of The Horns is just tighter and more destructive in the writing of their new tunes. The production has also increased a bit, but doesn't destroy the feeling of the release. Hellcunt's team is rotten in the old school way of playing, we can easily feel the power from the 80's Thrash bands in their compositions, even though the link with early Slayer's release is not as obvious than in "Call..". One of the highlight track from this album is for sure "1915" with this astonishing intro followed by ripping riffs. A mandatory album and yet one of the best release for 2007. Take the oath, Pledge Till Death !!!!
GRAVELAND (Pol) "Will Stronger Than Death" CD'07. 7 tracks, 54 min. No Colours.
It's been two years since Rob hasn't recorded anything and that's a good point for him as he was recording each album much too fast. So, for this "Will Stronger Than Death" Graveland has returned to his early crude B.M music. Actually the new opus reminds me a bit of "Carpathian Wolves" melted with "Thousands Swords" excepted the fact there's no crushing song, or any impressing riffs you could hold in your mind. The 7 long tracks seem to be a single one, displaying the same song structure on and on. There's no break or drastic change within the songs. The result is insipid and a bit barren at the end. I mean Graveland is able of much better compositions, but here we've always the same pattern used on and on both on guitars and drums. According to me this is the weakest Graveland release so far and the less interesting.

GRAVEN (Ger) "The Shadows Eternal Call" CD'0. 8 tracks, 38 min. Undercover.
I thought this band was dead and buried, but actually Vronth gave birth to a second full-length, and what a release. The 8 tracks consist of classic Black Metal in the vein of Darkthrone melted with Immortal through few interlude parts. Graven knows all the key elements to sound cold and grim through aggressive yet nocturnal compositions, reminding a lot the classic from the 90's Norwegian scene (i.e. : "Lord Of Winter"). The production is rather astonishing here, with massive drumming and sharp guitar gain. It proves B.M needs rather good production to be efficient instead of this ugly rehearsal noise you can find in too many records. I'd like to point out the work on the vocals, that are a kind of Nocturno Culto growlings, yet sometimes scolding. This album could have been a mile stone if it was released 15 years ago !!!!

GRAVEWURM/SUCIDAL WINDS (Usa/Swe) "From Conflict To Conquest" CD'06. 11 tracks, 42 min. Time Before Time.
The split CD starts with 5 songs from Gravewurm. I've never been impressed by this band and their previous release such as "Under The Banner of War" as this combo never wrote any thrilling song according to me. I feel like I'm listening to a 15 years old band discovering the dark side of Metal, playing so uncatchy and unappealing songs. Thence, the 5 new songs didn't get any impact on me, they're still a mediocre band playing so easy going and easy finding riffs. I feel like listening to a parody of Black/Death Metal. When it comes to Suicidal Winds, that's a completely different story as I follow this band since their early stuffs and I'm freak of their Metal of Death. Their 5 new tunes are in the vein of "Winds Of Death" that means rather fast Black/Death Metal, with furious vocals and wild guitar parts. S.W sweat the ugly and old school Metal, with a crude and straight sound. Actually they didn't change that much in their composition since their early release, but they do it so well that I don't think they need any evolution. S.W ends the record with an excellent Oz cover "Turn The Cross Upside Down" is which they use the growling vocals that give a more brutal side to this cover. Find this split for the Swedish band part !!!!

GRENADE (Austr) "The Howling Damned" CD'07. 8 tracks, 45 min. Hells Headbangers.
After the excellent "Hellsong" 7EP in 2004, Grenade finally released their full-length but disbanded few weeks after the recording. Fortunately Grenade had time to record this full length that is another devastating piece of old school Metal. Fist of all we'll find songs from the two previous EP as 4 final tracks ("Hellsong", "Metal Of Death", "Carnivorous Lunar Activities" and "Venom Of Gods"). Thence objectively there're only 4 new tracks on that record but what tracks ! Grenade are still rooted in their 80's Thrash/Death Metal and are able of writing excellent thundering song such as "Headbangers From Hell". In the other hand they come with an original version of Thrash song including 70's choir synth in "Dead Kelly Rides Again", even though this element could be weird at the beginning the mix turns really great at the end. Strangely enough Grenade recorded twice "Metal Of Death" with a slight different way of playing it. So, despite the 4 yet known tunes, "The Howling Damned" is a serious and quality material of typical Australian Metal. Join them !

GRIMUACK (Spa) "Goatica Summa" CD'06. 7 tracks, 47 min. Blackened Moon.
I feel like Blackened Moon likes Spanish bands as it's the second promo CD I got ! This time Grimuack is not as bad as Dark Faith, but will never be a milestone album. Thence, the 7 tracks from "Goatica Summa" are about typical 95's Norwegian B.M with Spanish lyrics, a bit in the same way than Mactatus or Malignant Eternal, without reaching their writing skills. Most of the songs are blast beasts, with high tone guitar gain and background high pitched vocals. The guitar sound is rather weak, while the drum is too much at the background. Actually this band is not so awful technically to listen to but ho so unoriginal.
GRIS (Can) "It Etait Une Forêt" CD'07. 6 trakcs, 60 min. Sepulchral.
Suicidal Black Metal like Shining and Xasthur opened new depressive gates some years ago, and Gris is one of the follower that's been into this vein. The 6 tracks from this combo from Quebec are pure depressing misanthropy and loneliness. The album is full of annihilation feelings, pure darkness and grieves through long and slow tempo compositions that remind you winter in Canada could be hard. The production is pretty close to early Xasthur's materials, which means a buzzing guitar gain, a blur sound and background vocals. Even though the titles are in French I can't understand any words from the lyrics. The recording wouldn't bring anything new in the Suicidal B.M fields, by the way what can be done now as some many bands popped up in few years ? Thence if you're really into this B.M genre this album gives its moments.
GROUND CONTROL (Ita) "Insanity" CD'06. 10 tracks, 39 min. Punishment 18.
Wow, despite a very tasteless cover album this band is pretty cool. Even though this band comes from Italy they play fucking old fashioned like Thrash Metal, and they played it in the best way, like the Bay Area bands did. The 10 tracks smell like old beer melted with sweat from die hard fans of the 80's. First of all the vocals are really Thrash like and sound a bit as Death Angel actually. The opening track is amazing from this side ! I'll let aside the 4th boring ballad song to return with a powerful and banging "Vortex Of Violence". They largely pay tribute to their idols as some riffs sound very close to Megadeth, but the band also come with their touch. Finally they end the album with "Metal Thrashing Mad" cover from Anthrax that is explosive ! Really great material in you're a die hard fan and are ready to listen to old like riffs that have been played 25 years ago !

HAMMERHEAD (Uk) “Will To Survive”. CD’05. 9 tracks. 39 min. Cult Metal Classics.
In these times of ghosts leaving into crypt, let's deal with HAMMERHEAD. This British band was alive in the beginning of the N.W.O.B.H.M. although they were not Heavy Metal, but a Hard Rock outfit. Their roots are built on bands like Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. The disc contains nine songs written between 1979 and 1984. What you get here is twin-guitar attack melted with mid-tempo and up-tempo, plus adequate vocals. Their catchy Hard Rock material smokes (“Time Will Tell”, “Lonely Man”, “Crying As I Fall”), and reveals a heavier direction in their last years with the epic atmospheres of “Lochinvar” and “Will To Survive”. The in-the-face instrumental “Heavy Handed” reminds a lot of old AC/DC. None of the tracks is boring, you quickly enter into their solid Hard Rock played with balls. As an extra, you can see a live video of “Lochinvar”, shot in 1984. This CD is brilliant Hard Rock. (P)

 

HAVOHEJ (Usa) "Dethrone The Son Of God" CD'07. 13 tracks, 28 min. Hells Headbangers.
Originally this album was released in 1993 by Candlelight as Profanatica's album wasn't finished at this time. Thence Paul Ledney decided to gather 5 "news" songs from Profanatica with some from his onwn creation. The 5 opening tunes of "Dethrone The Son Of God" are probably the best tunes ever written by Profanatica ("Spilling Holy Blood"; Final Hour Of Christ", "Weaping In Heaven", "I Arose", "Heavenly Father"). These 5 hymns are fucking unholy blasphemous tracks, a total nightmare for any Christians. The 8 other tracks are once again in the terrible vein of Profanatica : grinding and chaotic Black Metal. The twisted and mad vocals are really the highlight of this combo. These vocals melt with the grinding and apocalyptic guitar riffs are unbelievable !!! Should it be the real meaning of Black Metal ? Probably yes, and that's the reason why Profanatica and Havohej are labeled as "cult" today ! Actually not so many bands were able to play and stand this music back in the early 90's and according to me Paul Ledney was one of the most ahead and crazy lad on his time !!! Fuck sacred assholes, Havohej rules
HEAVEN & HELL (Uk) ) "Live - Radio City Music Hall" DCD'07. 15 tracks, 116 min. SPV.
Heaven And Hell is nothing less than what any Black Sabbath fans could dream about : the original line up of "Heaven And Hell" album excepted for Vinnie Appice on drums instead of Bill Ward. The band has decided to play tunes from "Heaven & Hell" (6 tracks), "Mob rules (4 tracks) and 3 tracks from "Deshumanizer" in front of a mad New York crowd. Yet the opening track blown you anyway "E5150/After All", and will tell you the members are into music since ages and can still kick ass no matter their ages ! The second track "Mob Rules" is another great moment of power, showing the supremacy of Black Sabbath ! This double CD is full of hits and classics such as "Lady Evil", "Voodoo", "The Devil Cried", "Die Young", "Heaven And Hell", "Neon Knights". Some of the tunes are played in longer version than originals but are really impressing. Another very positive point of this live is that you can feel the crowd, and the interaction between the fan and band. Dio introduces every song ! For those who attended to a Dio gig, they know how he kicks ass when he covers all B.S tunes, now imagine a whole double CD, recorded with the full modern technology (which means crystal clear sound and power !!), with Heaven & Hell line up ! This DCD is simply a master piece you have to hold in your private collection, otherwise fuck off and die !
HELEL (Fra) "A Sigil Burnt Deep Into The Flesh" CMD'09. 4 tracks, 20 min. Debemur Morti.
Helel is a new combo from Paris, France, this MCD is their first recording so far. The 4 tunes displayed are industrial Black Metal, in a very brutal way. The first approach sounds like a mix between Aborym, Mysticum and Diaspiquir. They mix minimalist Black Metal, in the grinding way, with Industrial noises and martial drum machine deshumanize the art to the maximum. The music sounds like it has been done by a machine software, bringing madness path and alienating rhythms. Here and there I found some ideas taken from the early Thorns. The 4 tracks are really enough for me, as the vocals aren't that much great, just harsh barking.
HELLACAUST (Fra) "Inevitable Dementia" CD'07. 9 tracks, 43 min. Great White North.
These Canadian lads have recorded an album that won't brand the Metal scene for sure as their style is everything but personal and the path they're following smells like "let's play what today trend music". All along the 9 tracks you'd listen to a very insipid Black/Death Metal that is always played 200% tempo with an extremely unbearable shrieking vocal that here and there try to sound Death Metal. Actually this voice got so much on my nerve that I couldn't concentrate on the instruments. But here again the result isn't thrilling at lot, each idea sounds like déjà vu, a kind of mix between Dark Funeral, Vader and cradle of filth.
HELLBANGERS (V/A) "Metal Forces" CD'08. 13 tracks, 55 min. Iron Pegasus.
The best German label had the great idea to "finally" publish a compilation with combos under Iron Pegasus' flag or bands that are part of Hellbangers. This is the review of the CD version but I'll immediately advise you to buy the gatefold LP editon that is wonderful !! So, Urn opens the gates with "Legion Of United" that is an excellent old school Black/Thrash Metal hymn in the typical Urn's song is follwed by "Hellbangers" from Desaster that features on their last LP. On this compilation you'll find old German combos such as Nocturnal, Metalucifer, Flame that offer either original while Witchburner covers "Pounding Evil", Metal Inquisitor's "It's Electric" (simply AWESOME !!!) and British Steel "Ripper". But you'll also discover excellent new combos such as Har Shatan and their old Darkthronish kind of song or 70's Doom stuff through Angel Of Damnation that sounds like a St Vitus cover, Midnight Rider and their Black Sabbath's like stuff and finally Evil Witch that is also strongly into 70's Metal. The CD edition ends with British Steel 's song, while the LP doesn't include this title. According to me it's a fucking jewel here as nearly all tunes are crushing, especially the 70's like tracks and the Diamond Head's cover. In many respect, this compliation reminds me Metal Massacre !!! Don't miss the LP edition !!!
HELHEIM (Nor) "Heiðindómr Ok Mótgangr" CD'11. 9 tracks. Season Of Mist.
Many Norwegian B.M bands have so much evolved that they're now miles aways from their roots, but few exceptions are still existing of what was B.M in the mid 95'. Helheim is part of them, as after listening to their seventh album we can easily draw links to their debut and second album. The band has evolved all along their career for sure, but the essentiel Helheim's touch is here and the elements that made Helheim captivating are always part of this release. The band found a kind of new way to develop the Asatru concept through much more atmospheric and eery compositions such as the opening track that are a travel in the obscure and frightening side of Northern culture. Their news songs are both closer to "classic" B.M but also so personnal in the way of arranging riffs. In another hand "Madr" is probably the closest song to their "Av Norrøn Ætt" album. The whole album is both intricate and complex with many different musical veils of absolute skillness. A must !

HELLISH CROSSFIRE (Ger) "Slaves Of Burning The Pentagram" LP'06. 8 tracks. I Hate.
"Do you want total Thrash !!!??? Yes we want fucking Thrash !!" Fuck, this band ripped me apart, I poured my beer on floor and turned my flat into a fucking mess. This combo is simply awesome !! Can you remember when you first discovered "Terrible Certainty", "Power and Pain" or "Upcoming Terror" ???? These 4 lads really know how to Thrash like in the 80's, the vocals are fucking raw, the chainsaws are fucking sharp and the drumming is a fucking bulldozer…fuck, fuck, fuck…I more I listen to this jewel piece the more I feel that THIS IS what I am the most fan of in the Metal world. Just imagine how songs like "Eternal Tyranny" (with the artillery like drumming end), "Shadowscurse" or "Hallowed In Fire" might sound at maximum volume !! The band states there's no effect on vocals or overdub but they simply kick ass. This is the German Thrash Metal I'm ready to die for !!!!

 

HELLISH CROSSIFRE (Ger) "Bloodrust Scythe" CD'10. 8 tracks, 43 min. I Hate.
After the gorgeous debut album I was wondering what could Hellish Crossfire offer as a second opus. Yet the first listening asserts their roots in the 80's German Thrash vein. The 8 tracks a pure fucking mayhemic and headbanging hymns. Hellish Crossfire pay tribute to their influences such as Kreator and Destruction through very personal and bone crushing riffs. They have this old school way of sounding and production that are terribly effiscent. The guitar players have a crazy way of delivering violent and mad solos as Slayer did in their early days. The more I listen to the vocals the more they remind me of Jeff Becerra. In a certain way, "Bloodrust Scythe" could have been the album produced by the German combo Poison as it has this raw and satanic touch that turns a Thrash Metal album into something unique. This is definitely of the strongest release of 2010. Horns up

HELLIXXIR (Fra) "War Within" 2007. 11 tracks, 49 min. Brennus.
I'll introduce you to a band from my area that's been into playing small gigs all around since a long time now but never got any worldwide recognition. I hope that with the new signing through Brennus and their new opus things will change a bit. Thence, "War within" is about 80's like Heavy/Thrash Metal highly influenced by the American Bay Area scene and combos such as early Megadeth, Metallica or Metal Church (even though the last isn't really from Bay Area). The first tune yet asserts the band into its main register and leads them to a banging way toward pure Thrashing melodies and aggressive rhythmic really close to some of Metal Church's compositions. As soon as the singer displays his way of unleashing the lyrics the Metal Church touch appears more clearly with a strong Ronnie Munroe's touch. Apart from this second tune "Mr Hyde", the band can also evolve into Heavy/Thrash fields, where the borderline between Thrash and Heavy isn't that much clear with "Hellhound". This song sounds like a melodic, yet oppressing song filled with background synth. Unfortunately the band explores some ideas that are out of place here such as their very weak ballade "Tears Of The Christ" or "Corpus Morbundi". Furthermore, some works are also needed in the lyrics department as they are a bit too clichés. Here and there Hellixxir are into more progressive Thrash such as "Reincarnation", coloring this album with varieties. Anyway, that's a worth discovering in you're into old school materials as this album has a tight production.

 

HELLOWEEN (Ger) "Keeper Of The Seven Keys – The Legacy World Tour 05/06. Live in Sao Paulo. DCD'07. 16 tracks, 119 min. Steamhammer.
It seems that Brazil is one of the best place to record live album as Iron Maiden went there too for their Live In Rio. This live was taken from the world tour 2005/06 in Sao Paulo in front of a 6000 maniacs crowd and believe me they can shout louder than Hell. I think it's completely useless to introduce this old Heavy Metal band and explain how brilliant they sound. What's really fantastic in this DCD is that Helloween played a great bunch of their early tunes such as "I Want Out", "Halloween", "Keeper of The Seven Keys", "Dr. Stein" that will always light the 80's flames in the heart of old Metalheads. You can't imagine how important was this combo for the German Heavy Metal scene in their early days, and now they skillfully play these anthems in a ripping way. Of course, Helloween also delivered new tunes such as "The Invisible Man, The King For A 1000 Years", "Mrs God". An excellent material if you're fan of this legendary band.

HELLREALM (Usa) "Hell Is Here On Earth" CD'06. 8 tracks, 25 min. The Number 13.
After the split of Scepter, John Karnes (vocals and bass) decided to create an new band called Hellrealm. I was really existed to listen to this CD as Scepter was one of my favorite "new" band from USA. Thence, this new combo performs a kind of nihilist and primitive B.M with a very dark and sick guitar sound, sometimes reminding of Demoncy melted with the simplest Von structures. The recording process is close to a rehearsal as the sound isn't at top quality. The guitar gain is both deep and blur which really gives a feeling to this material, with a low growling vocal that is highly influenced from the Death/Thrash scene. Here we can easily feel the same kind of sick and scolding vocals that was performed in Scepter. Actually this vocal is the high light of the release. The main drawback from "Hell…" is that all the songs sound alike, especially the drum parts so the release turns to be a bit boring after a while. I'm pretty sure a better production, and more variation in the compositions, Hellrealm could be as crushing as Scepter.

 

HELLREALM (Usa) "Chaos And Fear And Death" CD'07. 8 tracks, 24 min. The Number 13.
The debut album wasn't as exciting as I excepted and this new opus is….well…really boring. The cover is exactly the same than the previous CD (an extremely unappealing one for sure), the music is the same, badly produced and the lacks of variations are again part of this new album. So, if you like Von's alike materials and very repetitive music with a whispering vocal the CD is perfect for you. As far as I'm concern I prefer to forget this combo and get my Scepter's albums back !!!!

HELWULF (Fin) "Wolves Of War And Blood" CD'06. 12 tracks, 48 min. Blackened Moon.
These 12 tracks are typical Finish B.M as they sound so much Finnish you can't confuse their music with anything else. Basically Helwulf will not change the side of B.M music with their release, but if you like bands such as Horna and Satanic Warmaster you'll like this release. Indeed, they have the necro, un-produced guitar sound, background drumming and crude blackened vocals that's the high light of this production. They melt the very root of B.M sounding rather primitive, with some Burzum like depressiveness feeling. I feel like the drummer is a bit clumsy, especially when the tempo doesn't change for a long. The booklet contains a single black and white page without lyrics nor recording information, that's a real shame.

 

HERMH (Pol) "Eden's Fire" CD'06. 8 tracks, 40 min. Pagan.
I remember that I got their '95 Promo tape and "Taran" album that were more or less conventional B.M without any outstanding hints, but I was far from thinking they were still active. It seems Hermh have done a bunch of album since, I don't know how they sound but if they sound like "Eden's Fire" I prefect to switch to another combo. The 8 tracks from this release are nothing more than insipid and boring Black (?) Metal melted with modern D.M. Actually I feel like listening to a mix between Dimmu Borgir for the symphonic part, Behemoth for the vocals and "new" Emperor for the awful arrangements. This CD sucks big balls !

 

HOATH (Fin) "Codex II : Kether" MCD'05. 11 tracks, 28 min. Hammer Of Hate.
Strange satanic writings, a hand with a face printed on that's the weird cover album of these Finish lads. Well, once you put the CD in your stereo you can be sure this is not the kind of band you'll listen to everyday as their Metal is so atypical. Just try to imagine a mix between the binary tempos of Von, the bestiality of Blasphemy and the satanic side of "Inri" from Sarcofago. Obviously the vocals come from the deep underworld where Lucifer reigns, except nothing but a thrilling chant. The result is really interesting as they melt the most extreme form of Black Metal with Dark/Death Metal in a fine way, through rather low budget production, with fuzzy guitars. Here and there the record reminds me a bit of Incriminated with more evolved lines.

 

HOCCULTA (Ita) “Warning Games”. CD'05. 9 tracks, 38 min. A & R Prod.
A re-mastered re-release of their ’84 LP. As far as I know, it was the only album they recorded. After the mystical atmosphere one minute intro, you enter in their world. Hocculta shows two sides. The first is fast Heavy Metal (without being Speed Metal) that is catchy (“We'll play Again”, “Owner Of Earth”) or killer (“Warning Games”, the wonderful “Witches’ Chant”). The second is mid-tempo tracks with a dark feeling (“Dream Of Death”) or going anthemic (“We Give The Power”). A thing that hits the mind is the voice of Massino Lodini which is close to Klaus Meine (Scorpions). There are a story and an interview in the booklet, but damned, it’s all written in Italian ! A forgotten jewel has resurfaced. (P)

 

HOLY CROSS (Fra) "Under The Flag" CD'09. 10 tracks, 50 min. Pure Steel.
I read so much great words about this combo and their ability in (re) creating the old school Heavy Metal music that I didn't want to listen to any MP3 til I got the CD in hand and put it at maximum volume in thestereo. And fuck what a blast !! First of all the production has some bloody balls !!! We're listening to an Heavy Metal CD here, not a gay stuff ! The main influcenes are Blind Guardian and the 80's German Heavy Metal sound, here and there some Running Wild and a slight of Rage (in the guitar lines). But beyond being just a new old school sounding combo, Holy Cross can come with strong compositions and headbanging hymns such as "Gates Of Time", "King In Hell" or "Return To Asgard". The skilled musicians help a lot in the quality of the recording and I'll raise beers to the excellent singer ! I know that many French Heavy Metal singers unfortunately suffer from not tip top vocals but Mickaël is a talented one with many faces and gorgeous voice. He should only works on his English. I'd also point the twine guitare lines that are perfectly melted. Probably one of the most interesting French combo after the missing Malediction.


HOMSELVAREG (Ita) "Homselvareg" CD'08. 11 tracks, 46 min. ATMF
Another re-release of a completely unknown band, this time the original album was unleashed in 2005 and ATMF added 3 bonus tracks to this first full length. So Homselvareg is a B.M combo playing Norwegian influenced Metal through a rather polished production, without any keyboard. The vocals are a bit similar to Ishahn, the band also tends to play some kind of straight and massive B.M. Now, in all honesty I found this release pretty boring and uninspired. I mean all the ideas have been taken from previous releases, and when looking to the live pictures of band I can do nothing but laugh. B.M is a trend and some people shouldn't be here. Let's find a Scandinavian name, and tell it's a myth from Northern Italy (that's true that Northern Italy is really cold place ahaha) and let's play boring B.M., but the release sucks !
HONEY FOR CHRIST (Ire) "The Darkest Pinnacle Of Light" MCD'05. 5 tracks, 26 min. Rundownrecords
Don't misjudge me, this review is not a MCD I'd lost then find after 2 years, the band sent me their '05 material in 2007. The inlay card announces about "100 % raw, unclean, uncut hard and honest heavy fucking Metal !!!". Once you read this sentence the review is a bit useless as it perfectly sums up the content of this MCD. The first tune is more into Thrash Metal with speed tempo and straight in the head riffs with a tradition 80's core. Thence the following songs are much more Heavy Metal, very emotional and moody, through mid tempo melodies. I'd even say they sometimes reach the Doom Metal border lines here and there. Once again this typical Irish mix of strength and sadness invades the written of the tunes. It seems being on an island changes the men for their life. I can find the same feeling in some Primordial's songs. The only draw back would be the much too long and slack "Sorrow Descending", but all in all this is a great release !

HORNA (Fin) "Sanojesi Äärelle" CD'08. 14 tracks, 73 min. Debemur Morti.
Looking back to the past Horna discography is fucking amazing, the band has released numerous 7EP and 7 albums during only 13 years. "Unleashed" is the first full-lenght through the French label but that doesn't mean the band will change their musical direction : Horna plays Horna period !!!! The 14 tracks are still about dirty, untamed and unpolished Black Metal in the pure Finish vein. The violence and hate displayed here are in the pure Horna's vein, through high pitched guitar gain, disharmonic riffs and blasting drum. When talking about the drum we can notice that it's a bit under mixed. This element turns the guitar as major element in Horna's music. The album could here and there reminds you of the early Darkthrone mixed with early Abigor. A tune such as "Mustan Kürkkauden Sarastus" is one hell of a great song combining the fury of Black Metal with the mid pace thrilling atmosphere. Neverthless, the only draw back in the length of the album : 73 minutes is too much for such a release and some tracks are nothing but fillers.

HORNED ALMIGHTY (Dan) "The Devil's Music" CD'06. 10 tracks, 38 min. Infernus
The cover looks like really into the old school Thrash Metal vein, with a sarcastic side of religion. Let's get into the CD and see what Horned Almighty could offer. Well, the first song reminds me a lot the feeling from Mötorhead which means a lot of Rock and Metal groove. You know this kind of easy headbanging riffs that perfectly fit with a beer in hand. Then all along the album the band keeps into this vein, sometimes including a little bit of B.M à la Darkthrone "Total Death". Actually I really like the atmosphere of this release, bringing many Thrash Metal ideas, sometimes a bit too cliché. The bio states this band is B.M but excepted for the Thrash/Back vocals there's nothing B.M in this album. Worth to be checked

 

HORRID (Ita) "Rising From The Hidden Spheres" CD'06. 8 tracks, 43 min. Xtreme Music.
I don't think I've ever experienced Horrid but when I first listened to their guitar gain I thought I was playing "Indecent And Obscene", as Horrib has nearly the same guitar gain than the Swedish band ! Thence, Horrid is so strongly influenced by the early 90's Swedish D.M scene and bands such as Carnage, Hypocrisy, Dismember that I feel this album much more a tribute to the "golden" D.M years than anything else. If you want to listen to this typical D.M from northern Europe, Horrid is the perfect band to put in your stereo : they've this melodious side in their ugliness, technical drumming, full speed tempos without sounding grind and low death grunt from the abyss. The production kicks ass here. Check it.

 

HÜRLEMENT (Fra) "De Sang Et D'Acier" CD'09. 11 tracks, 49 min. EmanaesMetal.
Hürlement is a French combo active since 22003 but they never released any official materials so far. Thus said "De Sang Et D'Acier" is their first full length, the band name means "howling". With such a name and old school logo it was obvious the band would delivers materials from the 80's. And indeed the 11 hymns of this release are a mix between German Heavy/Power Metal like Grave Digger, Running Wild and early Rage melted with some of the 80's French Metal such as Adx and Killers. The melodic guitar side will immediately brings you some images of the famous German scene, with typical staccato speed chorus, while the heaviest side is closed to early ADX's compositions. The lyrics are split in two parts, some tunes are sung in English while others are in French and the result is very smooth. Most of the vocals are very high pitched, a kind of ultra high John Cyriis cloned with Halford. So, even though the band has many influences, some riffs remind famous compositions, the band comes with a crushing album, full of energy and vitality. I mean that "De Sang Et D'Acier" sounds early Heavy Metal without being a copycat. Of course there are minor mistakes here and there, such as a not very appealing solo guitar gain, a lack of power in the mastering and while sometimes the high pitch screams sound "too much", but it's fucking descent debut album. Horns up and howl to Heavy Metal in the night with Hürlement !!!
ICED EARTH (Ger) "Overture Of The Wicked" MCD'07. 4 tracks, 22 min. SPV. Steamhamemr.
This MCD is a kind of advance for fans before the "Framing Armageddon" album and offers 4 tracks of pure Epic Power Metal. After a return from Judas Priest Tom Owens is offering his vocals in Iced Earth team again. The open track, "Ten Thousand Strong" is a typical galloping Power Metal tune with fast staccato guitar lines and high pitched vocals. The song is far from being original and sounds a bit cheesy actually. The second song delivers more variations and complex ideas through a song-pattern that terribly reminds me Rage. "Birth Of The Wicked", the third tune is more melodic and mid tempo than the other materials. The highlight of this composition comes from the typical power Metal melodies. Finally a long "The Coming Curse" track ends this MCD with something that is more common to Iced Earth with once again full staccato guitar lines but weird drum work. Unfortunately this song is the less catchy from this MCD as the drum sounds strange, while the core of "The Coming..." is far from being exciting.
IC REX (Fin) "Valonkantajan Alkemia" CD'08. 8 tracks, 52 min. Hammer Of Hate.
This is the second full length from this Finish Black Metal combo and the less we can say is that their musical style has evolved. While the first album offered a primitive Black Metal this new opus is much more moody. IC Rex curse the world with an atmospheric Black Metal, through mid paced tracks. The two first tracks are some kind of dark ambient music full of nightmarish images with a forlorn touch. Then the 6 following tracks are more conventional Black Metal with once again a strong emphasis on the keyboard elements and mystical sound that could be here and there compared with early work of Limbonic Art in tune like "Kielletty Lääke". The band uses native language for their lyrics through skinned vocals and deals about Luciferian alchemic according to the info sheet. IC Rex brilliantly plays its music !
INCURSUS (Usa) "Eternal Funeral Trance" CD'09. 9 tracks, 46 min. Forever Plagued.
If you're looking for all B.M standard: haunting vocals, pounding drumming and freezing guitar riffs there's no way of searching for ages, buy Incursus' record. Indeed "Eternal Funeral Trance" is the typical B.M release that kicks ass from the beginning to the end. This band is strongly influenced by the early B.M way, as the atmosphere and feeling is perfectly into darkness and Satanism. Each song is praise to the Lord, an essence to the underworld where the two Incursus ghouls are dancing before him. Actually, the band could be a kind of mix between Katharsis, Watain and Malign but without really sounding like any of those bands. Incursus masters their art both through mid tempo parts than through ultra fast songs (i.e. "He Of Knighted Death"). We've a very strong and powerful release here.

INFERI (Fin) "Shores Of Sorrow" CD'06. 4 tracks, 49 min. Northern Heritage.
First of all do not confuse this band with the old Dutch one that only released a self titled released MCD in '95. Inferi has heavily been influenced by "Hvist Lyset Tar Oss" as they use the same pattern than the Norwegian band that are low and melancholic drumming, desperate shrieking for the lyrics, and eerie guitar riffs. All the songs length more than 10 min that is sometimes the draw back of this record as for instance the first tune is rather boring, while the other ones success in creating an uncomfortable and depressive mood. It has been a long since I hadn't listened to a copy cat from Burzum and I thought the trend was over now, but I was wrong. So, in one hand this release is a bit useless as it's nothing but the continuation of a pattern that has been used too much but in the other hand Inferi are not that much bad in the writing process department.

 

INFINITE HATRED (Korea) "Hateful Spell" CD'06. 7 tracks, 39 min. Nerbilous.
That's great original to receive promo pack from Korea as this scene is under represented in the world wide Metal market. Listening to that CD is another story : the album starts with a garage sound, playschool guitar gain, horrible drum machine, and awful high pitched screams. This is nothing but a fucking cheap and ugly release. Where's the point to produce a garage release through a label ???

 

INFESTUS (Ger) "Chroniken Des Ablebens" CD'08. 7 tracks, 49 min. Debemur Morti.
"Chroniken Des Ablebens" displays an ethearal vison of Black Metal, walking on the depressive side of this musical range through lugubrious atmpsoheric B.M compositions. This is a travel through inconsciousness and insidious mind, unveiled by the darkest melodies and hunting chant ripping the night. The 7 tracks from this German band are obviously a great work of nightmare as the compositions are solid and crushing. The band uses a lot the atmospheric side in their materials with "traditional" Metal instruments. Many parts in this record will bring you images of Deinonychus or even the early Katatonia's stuff both through the mid tempos interludes and the hight pitched screams. Thence a song such as "Entering Eternal Oblivion" might trouble you as this is established as a Deinonychus tune, without being a total copycat. Acutally, this special touch increases a lot the interest of this release, as few band can compete with the song writing quality of Infestus, and vocal grieves droped in each bleak part.
INJECTING KHAOS (Gre) "Salvation Through Violence" MCD'07. 6 tracks, 18 min. Repentance.
As you can read 6 tracks for 18 min means the tunes are fucking short and through the band name you can guess what this Greek combo is playing. Yes, grinding and brutal Black / Death Metal in the same way than Antaeus, Revenge and Conqueror. This MCD is pure musical chaos and complete degradation of what is supposed to be a Metal song as this band displays nothing but violence. Ok, so what ? Well, the result just didn't reach me as I'm far from being impressed with this MCD, all the songs are alike, the guitar riffs are impossible to be remembered and this stuff sounds like déja vù. Who's the next ?
INQUISITION (Usa) "Nefarious Dismal Orations" CD'07. 9 tracks, 46 min. No Colours
We've to admit that since the re-release of "Invoking The Majestic Throne Of Satan" through Iron Pegasus the band had an over whelming welcome and critics all along their discography as they brought fresh blood and flesh in the stagnant scene. But how could sound this new opus ? Well, Inquisition got the golden marks thank to this so typical low, scolding mid growling vocal and these evil guitar riffs sounding like the trumpets of malignant death. Thence this band isn't fool enough to change the winning recipe. The 9 tracks from that release have more complex structures than "Magnificent.." and actually are closer to "Invoking…" (that is a fucking master piece by the way). The work on the drum is still amazing, while the cult of death is delivered with a fucking hazy way of playing. The infernal vocals of darkness evocate Him as the drum creates the rhythm for His arrival. Ho might Lord of Darkens Inquisition is chanting your glory with such talent
!
INVICTUS (Hun) "Imperim Paganum" CD'08. 8 tracks, 39 min. No Colours.
That's strange the Hungarian band chose Invictus as a band name as there's yet an established label with such a name and numerous other combos exist or had existed. Anyway, this band includes members from Bornholm and is about pure ambient and heathen music through synth exclusively. Gladiator's soundtrack has been a huge influence for this combo and Lisa Gerard had impact on this material. The 8 tracks remind a mix between Gladiator's sound track, Conan The Barbarian's and Mortiis's early work. This is the kind of music you'll listen to in a quiet and rest room, with candles dancing on walls. In all honesty I found the music rather limited here as all the songs sound alike and don't bring many variations. I'd rather listen to early Mortiis' work than Invictus.
I SHALT BECOME (Usa) "In The Falling Snow" CD'08. 10 tracks, 36 min. No Colours.
American BM scene isn't the strongest scene in the world and since the end of Judas Iscriot, the USA has lost a great part of their interest. Even thought, there're still some great combos here and there. I Shalt Become has a back discography of three releases yet. This one is the second one as the band unleashed two albums in 2008. The USA one man band project follows the left hand path of Judas Iscariot and Burzum through a depressive, sad and sick Black Metal. The production is pretty blur and even poor while the synth is melted with other instruments such as in "In The Falling Snow" track. Indeed, such parts like that sound more being a demo than a release album recorded in a studio. The vocals remind a lot early Graveland, while some parts are nothing less that copy cat from "Hvist Lyset Tar Oss". Actually the shitty production quickly got on my nerves, as Metal music should be listen to loud and proud, but here the sound sizzles all along tracks. Finally, a pretty uninteresting material.

ISOLE (Swe) "Throne Of Void" CD'06. 7 tracks, 48 min. I Hate.
"Throne Of Void" is the second album from Isole and they did it well. They're still into their Solitude Aeternus' like Doom Metal. Actually the more I listen to their stuff the more I find connection with the American band, they convey the sorrowful emotional riffs in the same vein as the band mentioned above; I mean through very heavy riffs and lamenting vocals while the drum clocks like carrion of death. I'd point the work on vocals that are simply amazing, he's a clear and enchanting voice that perfectly fits to this kind of music. I found here and there some similitude with Candlemass, especially in the mid tempo riffs such as in "Demon Green". Bryntse, the vocalists, brings so much feeling and devotion in his lyrics, he traps you in his nest. This is an remarkable album of Doom Metal coming from Sweden !

ISRATHOUM (Hol) "Black Scenery Avatar" CD'08. 6 tracks, 35 min. Merciless.
This is a re-release of the album that was out in 2004 under SARS wings. Thus said, I really don't see any interest in re-releasing this album as Israthoum plays a third range of insipid Black Metal, a barren attempt at being "dark". Actually this release is so much full of clichés that listening to this opus is a real torture. Forget it.
ISTHAR (Hol) "Chaos Death Reincarnation" MCD'09. 5 tracks, 22 min. Auto Prod.
This is my first experience with this Dutch band that is into Black Metal melted with Death Metal elements. The first listening of this album won't give me the need to seek for all their past discopgraphy as Isthar is just another band playing Black Metal in the strick conventional way with growling D.M vocals. Here everything feels like déjà vu, and extremely boring. The band can perhaps write tunes but they lack so much of originality, or even if we can't ask for originality Isthar doesn't even have an inch of personality. This is the typical kind of boring and useless material.

IUVENES (Pol) "Triumph Of The Will" MCD'06. 4 tracks, 20 min. No Colours.
Finally Iuvenes have changed their musical direction, because I've to admit I was really fed up listening to their Bathory's Viking like era. But, the shame of their style switch is that they've decided to be another copycat band, this time using the Graveland "Carpathian Wolves" album as the main influence. Or should I say that Iuvenes took all the excellent riffs from Graveland to play them on their release. I've nothing against influences, but there's a slight difference between "influences" and "cut'n'paste" when it comes to song structures. Iuvenes is a great band when they play the music from other bands, but how good could they be with their own musical approach ? And by the way what is the next album they'll cover ?

 

IXXI (Swe) "Assorted Armament"CD'08. 11 tracks, 48 min. Sigilla Malae.
IXXI is a band formed with members from Ondskapt, Zavorash and Lifelover and their music in the right vein of the mentioned combos. The 11 tracks from "Assorted Armament" are composed of excellent Black Metal tracks that are a kind of mix between Orthodox Black Metal such as Zavorash and Ondskapt melted with the Venom / punk like arrangements you could found in some Carpathian Forest's compositions. The best example to describe this music would be "The Oath" song that is in one hand very macabre and repulsive through nightmarish vocals and oppressing drumming melted with old school Metal guitar line melodies. Actually this release totally stands against conventional Black Metal materials both through an excellent production and through a very personal approach of what Black Metal is. Instead of playing straight in the head gloomy riffs, IXXI offers some original version of degenerated music with powerful and savage riffs.

JACK THE RIPPER (USA) "Back On The Attack". LP 04. 11 tracks. Doomed Planet.
I never heard of that band before this resurrection of their material recorded from '82 to '84. Is it another ghost that didn't want to rest in pieces ? The featuring of this vinyl is pleasant traditional US Metal, delivering powerful steamrollers ("Gargoyle", "Ripper") and dynamite tracks ("Destructor", "Accept Your Fate"). "Metal Man" is a good anthem. The rendering is good, but nothing mind-blowing. It is not a first rate band, but nothing shitty. A cool vinyl of well played Heavy Metal by an obscure band. (P)

JANVS (Ita) "Fvlgvres" CD'07. 7 tracks, 42 min. ATMF.
Janvs is a completely unknown band to me, thence the listening of the 7 tracks from this Italian combo is a total discovery. The album is based upon the shattering human limits and condition. Thus said, you can imagine that Janvs play Black Metal, and that's what they do. They're into the traditional Black Metal, pretty polished and really tamed. So in one hand it sounds a little bit like early Swedish Black Metal, but nevertheless, the melodious side of the Swedish Metal isn't as strong here. Most of the songs are mid tempos and are emphasized by a dark mood through acoustic parts. Now, when it comes to the interest of this release, there's something lacking here. It's a bit as if you were waiting for the crushing riffs that would turn this release into a jewel one, but this precise moment never comes. For sure, the songs are rather well written, the vocals are sharp and the guitars heavy, but the riffs aren't enough sophisticated and private.
JANVS (Ita) "Vega" 7 tracks, 49 min.CD'09. ATMF.
Yet the first album was a really nice discovering (if we can say "nice" when talking about extreme music), so I was pretty curious to know what could be the next step. Many reviews state that the new album is one step ahead in comparison to the previous one and blablabla, but when dealing about "VEGA" we can definitely say the band has improved a lot both in compositions departement and musical departement. This time the new release includes a great bunch of melodies, but not in the Swedish B.M way. This is a kind of very personal way of mixing aggressive parts with all time guitar melodic riffs. "Vega" is the continuation of the previous album, sounding fresh, unpredictable and with a great bunch of talent. If you're looking for something different from the clasisc B.M releases, getting one hell of an experience then check the new "Vega".
JEX THOTH (Usa) "S/T" CD'08. 9 tracks, 51 min. I Hate.
Jex Thoth is the new band name of Totem that is reviewed on this web site. I dunno why they changed the name as according to me Totem fitted better than Jex Thoth. Anyway, that's not the matter here as I'm suppose to review the material and not comment on band's choice for their band name. So here we go, the first full length consists of 9 tracks clocking nearly one hour of…well…pure Hard Rock/Rock for the end of 60's. As I wasn't born under psychedelic/Doom generation I've to admit that it took time for me to really get into this material, and even though I really liked their previous MCD because it's strong as (also) short in time, the new opus was a bit more difficult to stand as it's really long. But, the result is very interesting as the Jex Thoth conveys a kind of mysterious side in their songs, a kind of secret hidden from common people they won't share with anyone. The wha wha guitar and lengthy, doomy female vocals brings you to a smoking, shadowed territory where Rock is turning into something extremely low and slow tempo. There's a occult and kind of beauty feeling within each composition, sometime taking influences from early Black Sabbath. Open mind Metalheads should check this American combo for sure !
totally black cover
JUMALHÄMÄRÄ (Fin) "Slaughter The Messenger" MCD'07. 3 tracks, 19 min. Hammer Of Hate.
First of all, the band name means "Twilight Of Gods", but don't except a kind of epic Black Metal à la Bathory. Indeed, JUMALHÄMÄRÄ is much more twisted kind of music. The world of this Finish band is really personal and not so easy to describe, we feel like traveling in a world that's not ours, where a mad man pulls the strings. The MCD starts extremely brutal with straight B.M riffs then all of a sudden turns to eerie, yet majestic. The shadowed vocals and the floating, weird clear guitar lines give a very cold and calm dimension. The band is extremely good at creating dark atmospheres with pretty simple ideas. They sound both very magic and untouchable. The three pieces of this mini album are somewhat a kind of mix between Deathspell Omega and ambient combos, a misty fog unveils the release. The result is really amazing and extremely original.

KAMELOT (USA) "One Cold Winter's Night" DCD'06. 18 tracks, 1h32 min. SPV/Steamhammer
Wow, I sometimes feel so disconnected with a part of the scene. I've yet heard of this band but honestly I never cared about them. So, I saw "One Cold Winter's Night" is their second live album. For those who know this band they'll expect live songs from their previous releases, and for those like me who never heard about them before Kamelot plays modern Melodic and Power Metal. The members are really talented and tight musicians as all the songs are very fluid and rather powerful (if you like this kind of Metal of course). I've to admit that even though I'm absolutely not fan on this kind of "knight", fantasy Metal, I enjoyed listening to their tunes. Of course you'll listen to the famous galloping guitars interludes and ultra demonstrative Heavy Metal solos all alone the double CDs. By the way, the singer is really good in his register. If you like this range of modern Metal check this release it's worth listening to.

 

KAT (Pol) "Metal And Hell" CD'06. 10 tracks. 37 min. Self-financed.
For their first album, a Polish band created a milestone in the speed Metal history in 1985. Plus this outfit came with a solid musicianship and a harsh vocalist. Opener "Metal And Hell" is an hymn full of Metal mayhem. "Killer" is a great threatening anthem that will always make posers shit in their pants. "Time Of Revenge" is a mid-tempo song that haunts your mind after you listened to it. "Devil’s House Part 1" and "Devil’s House Part 3" deliver the wild fury from the gates of darkness. "Vampire" is just a magic heavy tune. "Devil’s Child" and "Black Hosts" bring brilliant attacks of Speed Metal. "Oracle" is another threatening anthem that is more than effective. The savage and demonic "666" is perfect to close the album. Just first class material. We're now in 2006 and "Metal And Hell" is still a timeless masterpiece of evil Speed Metal, and for me the best album come from Poland. No more words are needed here. If you don’t have this classic in your records, make yourself a favour : find it quickly. You definitely won’t regret
it ! (P)

KAT (Pol) "666" CD'06. 10 tracks. 37 min. Self-financed.
This album is the Polish version (or the original version if you prefer) of "Metal And Hell". So the only difference is the language in the vocals, and Roman Kostrzemski is more killer when he sings in Polish ! But in fact there are two other differences too. First, you will note that the tracks order is not the same than the English version. Then, the sound on this version is better and more powerful than the English one, which is strange. Let's talk about the packaging : both CDs (self-financed by the band, as there is no label records mentioned on the back cover or on the disc, isn’t it unreal ?) come in a beautiful digipack, with a booklet including the lyrics and story notes. Of course, the info are in Polish on the Polish edition. But the info are also in Polish on the English version ! Hey guys, you really don’t have a friend who could have translated in the story ? Except for that critic, thank you for the re-release of your cult first album in the two versions ! (P)

 

KREATOR (Ger) “At The Pulse Of Kapitualtion” DVD’08. 23 tracks, 125 min. SPV.
First of all this is not a new materials but re-edition of the legendary ’90 live with collection of video clips from “Come Of Soul” era. Some of you might remember that after the fall of iron curtain some Thrash Metal bands (Coroner, Sabbat, Celtic Frost and Kreator) were invited for a huge festival in East Berlin. Thence Kreator was shot on video and edited as a “Live In East Berlin” VHS in 1990 during the Extreme Aggression” tour. So what we’re talking about is nothing less than the re-edition of this live, remixed with modern equipment. The band opened with their classics such as “Some Pain Will Last Forever”, “Extreme Aggression” then “Under The Guillotine”. Considering there weren’t that much Thrash videos back in time, this one was really great and offered the opportunity to see Kreator live in their own country. And “Extreme Aggression” was probably their best period, considering the band had a huge success (here there were 7000 fans) and had means to produced a decent video. The second DVD is a collection of video clips of less interest during the “Come Of Soul” album with the following tunes : “People Of The Lie”, “Twisted Urges”, “Coma Of Souls” and finally “Terror Zone”. Now if you look at them objectively these clips were hugely shown on MTV back then and are probably known by every fans. The last part of this double DVD is a documentary about “Live In East Berlin” with people involved in the organization explaining how they set up the show (not very exiting actually). The DVD also comes with a CD edition of the live. As few new fans should have a VHS player that’s a worth item to get in your collection, but if you follow the band since 20 years there’s nothing new here. Does SPV need cash ?

KRIEG (Us) "Blue Miasma" CD'06. 13 tracks, 61 min. No colours.
Woaw, this might be the longest Krieg album even released 61 min of raw B.M ! This opus is announced as the "The last and more melodic album from Krieg. With guest musicians from Nyktalgia, Satanic Warmaster and Nachtmystium.", and some of you may remember the average review I did of their record and live show at Paris in a previous Franang zine issue. Krieg has always been a kind of "so, so" B.M band for me, able of writing some great depressive songs but also some insipid tracks. Actually this release is much more melodic than their previous album, even though the songs are longer. Krieg is still following the path of Burzum, Judas Iscariot playing depressing, and raw B.M with a strong melancholic touch, even though Krieg has developed a kind of "dirty" touch in their songs through Imperial vocals. I'd point that song such as "Under An Incarning Moon" is the best side of Krieg, creating a real strange mood, even though this song structure has yet been used in "Black House" and in many Judas Iscariot tunes. Fans of Krieg will rush to get this album.
 

 

KROHM (USA) "The Haunting Presence" CD'07. 7 tracks, 56 min. Debemur Morti.
I don't know why but it seems that Krohm never received the support they deserve in Europe. Perhaps the explanation was the fiasco with Selbstmord Services when the label re-released the demo on MLP format. Nevertheless, the band arose with the Suicidal Black Metal scene and combos such as Shining, Xasthur, Forgotten Tomb. In one hand Krohm is the American answer to Shining as the US band can write excellent tunes. Thus said, the music from "The Haunting Presence" perfectly represents this title album. The 7 tracks are about haunting mid tempo Suicidal Black Metal, with a skinned vocal dancing on lugubrious and forlorn hymns. Depressive interludes such as in the middle of "I Respiri Della Ombre" give all the power to Numinas' art. Krohm offers a trip to void, a land of nothingness excepted cold and misanthropic feelings. The desperate vocal annihilates any single piece of hope. You're travelling in the wagon of death, and Numesis is the only driver, but your pain will never end. This is a excellent album in the genre, much superior to any Forgotten Tomb's album or new Shining.

KULT (Ita) "Winds Of War" CD'07. 10 tracks, 38 min. Debemur.
That's really weird a band chose Kult as band name, do they consider themselves as cult yet ? Anyway, I'm not here to discuss about band name but rather to review this CD. So, the 10 tracks from this Italian band are into the pure Black Metal vein, highly influenced by the Swedish B.M scene of these days melted with some old school depressive feeling one could find in some Burzum mixed with Darkthrone compositions. The core of Kult's songs are established on grim and untamed B.M without any extra elements, expect nothing but crude guitar, hateful and rasping vocals with rock and black drumming. In one hand this band is really efficient as it gathers all the key elements needed within a B.M album, but in other hand all the ideas spread on that CD have yet been recorded such as the classic "Enstrangement" starting like a melancholic tune, then speed up to a fast Satanic Warmaster like song. Note Aphazel (Ancient) ingenired this record and we can fell a kind "Svartalveim" (i.e. "And Forever Winter") mood..

 

LANTLÔS (Ger) "Lantlôs" CD'08. 5 tracks, 39 min. ATMF.
Lantlôs is a new German Black Emtal combo gathering the singer from Geist and here is their first full length. The survey of the album will immediately bring you references to the Suicide Black Metal scene. Indeed the compositions carry a bunch of depressiveness in their structures and atmospheres, a wind of despair is blown all along the album. But reducing Lantlôs to a simple sucidal Black Metal combo would damage their arts as the German band has included a large melancholic side to their materials. For instance, the second track "Mitsommerregen" sounds closer to Ved Buens Ended mixed with early Katatonia's stuff. The vocals are very fierce and bitter here, the German lyrics increase this effect. The result is fine as the album contains a lot of variations, through a large veil of darkness ideas.

LEGION OF SADISM (Ger) "The Great World Of Satan" CD'06. 10 tracks, 32 min. Christhunt.
I wasn't really appealed with their previous material, and "The Great World OF Satan" won't changed my mind. Ok, this band has increased a bit since their previous stuff, but it was so awful that even now they can't compete with any other worth B.M bands. They're still playing a kind of symphonic B.M, with few keys at the background, a mid shrieking German vocals that have absolutely no power with this bloody drum machine. This time the drum machine is a bit more hidden and doesn't destroy the music. But honestly LOS is and will stay an average band.

 

LOCUS MORTIS (Ita) "Voust" CD'07. 8 tracks, 43 min. ATMF
It seems that Deathspell Omega opened the gates of unholy violent Black Metal with touches of scolding vocals ! Locus Mortis's second album is very influenced by the French melting conventional and crushing B.M riffs with twisted guitar interludes, haunting vocals and devastating ultra speed parts. The songs are very massive and impressing both thanks to a great production and the ability of writing high level riffs. Locus Mortis gathers many key elements to create a dark and gloomy album here, composition such as "Sonno Eterno" will pretty fit to a blackened opus ceremony. Even though the band uses Italian lyrics, it's nearly impossible to understand any word properly. The band has really written a tremendous album that can stand length of nearly 45 min without being boring. Check this quality release.
LONEWOLF (Fra) "Made in Hell" CD'08. 10 tracks, 44 min. Eat Metal.
"Where am I ? – Where Are you ? – You're In Port Royal" !!!". This sentence might remember you a record from Germany ? Thence welcome to the new Lonewolf's territories !!! "Made In Hell" is the third album from this Heavy/Speed Metal band from France and is the test album actually. Indeed, "Unholy Paradise" was pretty disappointing and didn't stand against time due to a weak production and rather hazy songs, but "Made In Hell" will annihilate the previous mistakes through a strong and powerful release. Yet the first tune "Shadowland" will immediately bring you images of the early Running Wild glorious age through a speed and straight in the head track, an headbangining opening tune. The two following tracks are more tempo directed, with an emphasize on the epic side and pondering drumming. Then all of a sudden "Seawolf", the forth tracks, will immediately remind you the early Lonewolf but this time with a fucking striking production and excellent riff department. The wolf dropped all the boring and demonstrative solos from the previous release, the average mid tempo riffs to get the best and the heaviest of their ability for this record. The result is really amazing and will bring back all the early days fans to Lonewolf’s camp. The vocals department have also increased a bit and sound more solemn, while some back vocals such as in "Seawolf" sound terribly 80's. This is definitely the best French band playing German Speed Metal from the 80's.

LORD WIND (Pol) "Atlantean Monument" CD'06. 12 tracks, 76 min. No Colours.
Lord Wind is typically the love/hate band whose many Metalheads will praise Darken for creating an enchanting monument or has recorded one of the most sleeping and boring materials. Actually, to really get into that kind of atmospheric music, you need a specific surrounding. If you listen to "Atlantean Monument" in your car you'll probably crash in a tree after a little sleep, but if you light some candles, wait for a proper raining weather that record could unveil some excellent mood. Once again the 12 tracks are only instrumental songs create through different synth, with still the fighting flame dancing against the walls. This is exactly what you'd like to listen to to get the old times medieval feeling (even though Medieval music has nothing to do with Lord Wind), while reading a book or working on something demanding all your brain cells. If you're searching for heathen, Slavonic mood get into that record. According to me, there're two draw backs in that record : Darken didn't evolve that much on his fourth album, using the same recipe and the album is a bit too long 76 min !!!

LUNAR AURORA (Ger) "Andacht" CD'07. 6 tracks, 54 min. Cold Dimensions.
"Andacht" is yet the 8th album from this atypical German band, that has branded its own style since now 1994. According to the information on their web site their release seems to be the last one under Lunar Aurora as band members want to concentrate on their own project. This release is really different from their previous materials and I was in used to find many early Gehenna influences in Lunar Aurora's songs, but this time "Andacht" sounds like nothing else. The 9 tracks are about mystic and mysterious Black Metal in the way that they use many odd samples as atmosphere melted with gloomy and mid tempo yet melancholic Black Metal riffs. Nevertheless Lunar Aurora is also able to play extremely fast riffs such as in "Dunkler Mann". Once again the vocals are in German, a bit in the back ground sometimes high pitched screaming but most of the songs have "normal" B.M growling. Strangely the mood of this release reminds me a bit of Deinonychus or even late Bethlehem's materials. "Andacht" is a weird an unique experience within the release of original B.M.

LUNAR AURORA (Ger) "Weltengpänger" CD'07. 7 tracks, 53 min. Cold Dimensions.
Back in '96, I discovered this German band through tape trading, Lunar Aurora astonished me with their cruel and obscure symphonic Black Metal. While all the bands were playing boring Playschool-keyboard B.M to sound like Emperor but completely failed, the 3 German dudes wrote a unique album in the Norwegian vein. This album is sold out since age, but the main lad of the band decided to re-release it through his own label. So, this release is an great piece of symphonic B.M that is pretty close to what Gehenna played in their early days, but with an emphasis on the synth. The cruel vokills, melted with nocturnal guitar riffs mesmerize any soul and bring it to the land of no return. While listening to this release, a winter landscape displays in your mind, with cold wind blowing your face. The band found the accurate mood and riffs to turn their art into something of quality and melodious. I must admit that I've listened so much to this album when it was out that now it seems obvious this band was much different from the others. The re edition contains a long melancholic and moody B.M song, with could easily compete with the suicidal B.M genre. Get this album !